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Cormac practises in employment, discrimination, collective labour law, and social housing.

Cormac specialises in all aspects of employment law. He has recently been instructed in cases involving: discrimination, whistleblowing, TUPE, trade union matters, unfair dismissal, wages, flexible working requests, holiday pay, and contractual claims. He has a particular interest in claims which raise worker/employee status issues. 

Before coming to the Bar, Cormac was a legal officer at United Voices of the World, a trade union representing low-paid and migrant workers. He represented workers in the employment tribunals and the union before the Central Arbitration Committee in hearings concerning the statutory recognition procedure.  

In summer 2021, Cormac was a stagiaire at the European Court of Human Rights, where he assessed the admissibility of applications made against the UK. His master’s degree focussed on the interaction between human rights and labour law. Cormac is therefore well placed to undertake cases involving human rights in the employment context.

Cormac’s discrimination practice spans employment, social housing and the provision of goods and services. In the employment context, he has been involved in claims relating to a range of protected characteristics, including race, age, sex, pregnancy and disability. In housing litigation, he often represents disabled tenants who raise Equality Act defences in possession proceedings. 

Employment and Discrimination

Cormac practises predominantly in employment and discrimination law (including non-employment discrimination). He has experience representing parties in multi-day trials and has a busy advisory practice. 

Cases include:                                                             

  • Harrison v Heritage Venues Ltd 330161/2023– represented the claimant in 2-day trial in relation to her selection for redundancy after she returned from maternity leave. Claims of unfair dismissal, indirect sex discrimination and part-time working detriment upheld. 

  • Advising a political party member on whether his expulsion for signing online petitions amounted to philosophical belief discrimination. 

  • Kelly v London Underground Limited 2207830/2022 – represented a claimant with degenerative hearing loss in a 5-day trial concerning a failure to provide a hearing aid. Claims of failure to make reasonable adjustments and harassment related to disability upheld. 

  • Advising a graduate student employed by an Oxbridge College on claims arising from allegations of sexual assault. 

  • Represented senior academics in an independent grievance investigation concerning allegations of trade union victimisation.  

  • Represented a claimant engaged in a safeguarding role at sex parties organised by the Respondent company in a 2-day preliminary hearing, successfully establishing worker status under ERA 1996 and employee status under EA 2010. 

  • Represented the claimant against the Department for Transport in a flexible working request claim, which raised a novel question about whether someone’s “home” for the purposes of s.80F(1)(a)(iii) ERA 1996 can include a location outside the United Kingdom. 

  • Advising on a range of contractual issues, including penalty clauses and clawback clauses relating to training and bonuses. 

  • As junior counsel, defending a career-long financial loss discrimination claim (led by Paras Gorasia).

  • Evans and others v Solace Womens’ Aid 2200468/2022: represented four counsellors engaged by a domestic violence charity in a 2-day preliminary hearing, successfully establishing worker status. Claim settled in respect of taken but unpaid annual leave. 

  • As a trade union legal officer, obtained interim relief for a claimant who raised a grievance about a pay cut imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Collective Labour Law

Cormac has a particular interest in the law relating to trade unions, including industrial action and collective bargaining. 

Cases include:

  • Advising a trade union on the lawfulness of nationwide industrial action in the public sector. 

  • As a trade union legal officer, represented the union in CAC hearings concerning the appropriateness of proposed bargaining units, allegations of unfair practices in relation to balloting, and specifying the method of collective bargaining. 

Housing, Social Welfare and Property

Cormac accepts instructions across the range of housing law and has experience of: 

  • Defending possession proceedings, including public law and Equality Act defences.

  • Anti-social behaviour injunctions and committal proceedings.

  • Judicial review of homelessness decisions. 

  • Claims for damages and injunctive relief relating to disrepair. 

  • Prosecution of landlords under s.82 Environmental Protection Act 1990.  

Cases include:

  • Harding v Bell (2023) November Legal Action 37: successful defence of possession claim brought under s.21 HA 1988, on the basis that a landlord is unable to rely on the deemed service provision in CPR 6.26 in relation to a s.21 notice. 

Professional Discipline

Cormac has defended nurses and physiotherapists in interim order hearings. He has also presented cases on behalf of the General Dental Council and General Optical Council.